Hoverboards hit the market in 2014 and, after a few fires caused by overheating batteries, independent mechanical standards certifiers like Intertek and UL have raised their criteria, helping to ensure that you will not be the protagonist of a #hoverboardfail video that goes viral (but they alone will not save you). These products are safe, fairly easy to use, and totally awesome. While at first limited, huge gains have been made with stability, battery life, and top speed since their creation.
So, if you’ve decided that one of these chariots is more important than a weekend in New York or a night in Vegas, you have reached the next logical question: where do I buy one? The answer to that question can make or break your hoverboard experience. Before we can answer the question, let’s consider the possibilities.
Besides the sun and human ingenuity, the Internet is the greatest resource available today. By shopping and researching online, you will be able to compare prices, look up specs, discover different hoverboards with consumer reviews, watch vloggers’ product breakdowns, and get a feel for how much you’re going to pay. You can also go straight to a manufacturer’s site where you might find the best deal.
But if you’re wandering off the beaten Amazon or Ebay online shopping path, you might get scammed. Dark forces lurk in the shadows of e-retail, and some sites would sell you a fire starter instead of a vehicle. Reviews can be bought or faked. Logos and products can be fabricated. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You will need to cross-examine your witnesses and refer to independent sites and reviewers if you’re going to buy online. Unfortunately, besides this site, there are few independent authorities that cover hoverboards today. Online retailers might be the best option, but they require you to put in some extra finger-work.
Buying in a Store
If you’re more of a try-before-you-buy-minded creature, you might want to head into a store in person to check out what you can expect. Several large retailers carry a wide selection of hoverboards, including outlets like Target, Walmart, and Best Buy. Skate shops generally do not carry them. In the store, you will be able to check out exactly what you’re getting. If they are not displayed, an employee will probably let you take one out of its box and check it out. For the savvy shopper, this will give you an idea not only of size, exact color and weight, you’ll be able to get a sense of the product’s quality. You might want to choose the rubber treads, for example, over the hard ABS treads.
There is a caveat. You probably will not be able to test it out in the store. The reason? There are other expensive things in the hoverboard section of any retailer, and during your first ride, there’s a good chance you will fall. Every hoverboard comes with a learning curve.
Just as there is no good without evil, no truth without lies, if you want to get the very best product for the right price, you’re going to want to combine online research with in-person experience. Find out all that you can online. Once you have picked out a few favorite models, check the online retailers and those nearby. The retail market has grown volatile recently, and you just might be able to find a great price on a great hoverboard—which you can physically confirm—in a store near you. On the other hand, buying directly from manufacturers cuts out the middleman and can lead to great deals. On the other, other hand, online retailers often offer promotional deals and sales. Leave no stone unturned. Happy hovering.